Devil’s Gate: Brigham Young and the Great Mormon Handcart Tragedy by David Roberts
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Overview: The revelatory story, now in paperback, of the worst disaster in the history of the Western migrations-and how Brigham Young made it a parable of the indomitable Mormon spirit.
Dramatic re-telling of a terrible but little-known tragedy: In 1856, 220 Mormons traveling west to Utah, pushing and pulling their belongings in handcarts, died of malnutrition and hypothermia. Roberts draws on contemporary letters and diaries to re-create the drama and suffering.
A powerful indictment of Brigham Young: Young had been warned that the pilgrims were at risk from winter storms; he could have waited until the next year or sent aid eastward sooner but failed to do so until it was too late. Not only have Young’s biographers ignored or minimized this tragic and preventable event, they’ve tacitly accepted the official version of the story, which casts it as an unavoidable act of God that tested-and proved-the faith and steadfastness of the Mormon spirit.
Follows the success of other books about the Mormons: Devil’s Gate will appeal to the same readers that made Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven and Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith’s The Mormon Murders into explosive, national bestsellers.
Genre: Non-Fiction > History Religion